Thursday, 26 February 2009

Zero Web, Zero Clue

Here's a ZeroWebber (around in the time before Intarnets and Web Any.Version) who makes a living at sending out an email jokes newsletter daily.  He's also personally bigoted, climate change denying, and operates a "help" service in which he basically browbeats people into setting all their apps up the same way he does "because it's the *right* way dammit" and tries to bully them to install only the apps and services that he approves of.  In general, he sounds and acts like the cranky opinionated old guy out of a 70's comedy.

Here are excerpts from the guy's take on Twitter.  Amusing, clueless, and opinionated.  Some people just don't get it:
Twitter is like the very early IRC chats in the early 80's, but with mug shots and a 140 character per message limit.
If you choose to "follow" somebody, then every time they send a message, you see it in your Twitter page.
Some people make it a game similar to FaceBook and try to get as many people as possible to "follow" them. That doesn't mean that all or any of thir followers actually read their posts. If they just focus on collecting followers, chances are that their followers are just as bland and shallow.
Every now and then you have to weed out the people whom YOU follow. That's easy enough to do. A single click and they are gone. The same happens to you. If you don't contribute anything worth reading, people will stop following you.
. . . 
Twitter is a good way to meet people in a very casual way. If somebody turns out to be worth it, you can send them your email address or Skype handle in a private message.
. . .
It is a good idea to limit your time on Twitter, and show up at the same hour when you do go onto Twitter. That way you accumulate friend with the same convenience time zone, instead of having them spread over the whole day.
He then finishes that section with an imperative to "have FUN!"  - How the heck is anyone going to have fun when Papa Smurf here is telling them which way to sit, which way to shit, and which way to go to bed?  And - oh, yeah - he doesn't get FB either.  And yes, he shills for Skype a lot.  If ever there was a demonstration of WWW vs Web 2.0, he's it.  A pre-web anachronism operating in a Web 0.0 way in a Web 2.0 world...

First - IRC in the '80's?  In what version, of what alternate Universe, was that?

Second, Twitter is nothing like IRC, in any fashion whatsoever other than being a messaging service.

"Some people make it a game" to collect friends?  No - some people make it a business to spam.

"Like FaceBook"?  No - just that you're one of those people that don't get it and are prepared to denigrate anything they don't get while pounding their particular pulpit.

Take it to a "whole new level" as he seems to suggest, by going to email or Skype?  Need I say more?  How do I Skype something to 50 of my friends again?  Ah yeah, that would be "not".

And as to "limiting my time on Twitter" who the hell are you, my father?  "Show up the same time"?  Why?  So I can miss the 75% of my friends who are in other timezones?  Answer:  No, and no.  My time on all media is dictated by whom I want to be in touch with, their time zone, and my ability to be there at a mutually convenient time.

It's why I joined all these "facebook thingies", old man - so I can socialise and interact and conduct business without being tied to rather outmoded concepts.  And I say "old man" from the viewpoint of someone born in ZeroWeb days, and now over half a century old.  (Searches frantically for a suitable term.)  Uh, like, get hip to a brand new trip, old feller!

Now to go have a Red Bull and wash the taste of last century out of my system...



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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Peanut Panic Perpetrated By Penurious Prick

Now that the peanut butter contamination case has wound down and everyone's over it, I have an observation, and a suggestion.

Observation:
Even in China, when the corner-cutting that led to the melamine poisoning of milk products was discovered, several managers of the dairies responsible were executed.  This is a good idea and should be adopted by Western cultures again.  A person who has the potential to cause catastrophic losses of life by their greed or their negligence, should be treated as no less than a mass murderer.

Suggestion:
Tie up the manager of that peanut plant and feed him his product until he shits himself to death.  It would be poetic, epic, and totally unforgettable.  It might even prevent further "economising" and corner cutting in the food industry...



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Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Just Effing Super, thanks!

Just my 2c worth (and costing me 20c nowadays) but would you trust Damian Hill with his recommendations at the end of this article?

I mean - would YOU keep shoving money up a dead horse?  I and thousands of people are ready to try and use our super.  We've paid into the funds all our working lives, expecting to have a nice nest egg for retirement - and now there's less in my account than I contributed originally...

Mr Rudd:  Let people take their super out now, and tax it as you would any wages.  Use the money to get our economy out of the tank, and promise to pay pensions when they are due, no whimpering no murmuring.  There has to be billions tied up in super funds that would boost the economy NOW, when it's needed!


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The Last Big Decision.

Given that some people will find Class Wars everywhere.  And given that this viewpoint - obviously from the majority, non-upper-class - advocates turning off technology because it gives the "ruling class" tools to rule "the rest of us" with.  Then given that this seems to be the viewpoint of someone that, from all appearances, seems to include themselves as that "ruling class."

Does it seem that there are fools, idiots, and total fricken idiots on both "sides?"  One conspiracy theory seems as good as the other.  "OMG they are totally using technology to rule us!" compares to "OMG they are totally using technology to slip out of our rulership!"

Does it seem the common thread is Luddism? Because, it seems to me that technology is always viewed with such extreme distrust when it gives some kind of social cohesion - cf this article for another, current, shot at social networks - so is it less down to distrust and more to a burying of heads in the sand?

Where I'm hearing people tell me about short attention spans I'm seeing a lot more people able to sequentially multitask, if they are given the chance to.  Where I'm being told that people are becoming all egocentric and self-obsessed I see people who have actually learned to pay attention - in micro slices - to their peers, because the social networks are also the epitome of egalitarianism, you must either pay attention to your peers  - a LOT of peers - or be silently ignored.

In short, I'm seeing people not atrophying and becoming something other than human, I'm seeing them take one of only a very few evolutionary steps left - augmenting and changing within the same generation, not within hundreds or thousands of generations as Darwinian evolution took.

Because there's also the view that we need to start - right now - to work out how we're going to feel when machines are as human as ourselves, and we are as technological (as opposed to biological) as machines.  That time comes closer with every day, every hour.  Don't kid yourselves - look around a bit.  The world becoming hotter, harder for biological lifeforms to live in?  Check.  People more and more in love with technology and willing to sacrifice their world?  Seemingly, check.   More and more people wishing to meld with technology, as evinced by the love affair with cellphones, laptops, PDAs, and portable personal electronics?  CHECK!

Honestly, look around yourselves and think - really think - about this.  It's pretty much irreversible and irrevocable by now - global warming looks set to be worse, get here sooner, and take longer to reverse than anyone could have imagined.  We're developing new technology at a phenomenal rate and seem unable to stop doing it.  And we're melting down the economy, which is one of the last bastions of the old humankind, another of those "control mechanisms" that class conscious conspiracy theorists are fond of quoting.

If I was to think about it, (and I have,) I'd say we've come to a fork in the evolutionary path, and deciding which way to go is going to be on everyone's mind in the next year, or two at the latest.  Is it better to preserve our Earth and go through two to ten generations of a New Middle Ages such as we've not seen in a while?  Or is it better to adapt to the newer hotter less life-friendly world and become well-nigh immortal in the process? Are we human or Borg?  Is it time to get Augmented or time for a tree change?  Either way, it's almost at the point where the decision will be out of our hands/pincers/tentacles...


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Fun With The Wildlife

I went and looked for plans, designs, ideas - anything, in fact - that might help me build alternative accommodation for my roofspace-dwelling guests, the possums.  Cannot believe in an area where the density of possums exceeds that humans, there is no alternative.  Animal control experts will "relocate" them for you, but of course possums are extremely tied to their trees and grounds, which is why the Victorian bushfires have been such a disaster for those possums that survived - their homes gone up in smoke, they are going to find it hard to adapt to a new location.  So "relocation" generally means within a 25m radius or less, and they know the territory like the back of their paw so - back they will come.

Unless.  You happen to know what kind of digs possums prefer, or at least, can find someone to tell you.  Think I can?  I'm going to have to ring Perth Zoo.

And why am I doing this and not doing what many people do on the sly, which is to trap them and move them a long distance away - which BTW is illegal  - and be rid of the "problem?"  Well - I do like them a lot.  Turns out there are at least three, so now I have Peewun (female, ringtail, pale underbelly) Peetoo (male, brushtail) and lately a nasty girl named Peefree (female, ringtail, dark patch on underbelly.)  Peetoo in particular has taken to the odd tasty snack of apple or a slice of banana like a pro, he jumps down on the table and allows people to touch his fur and pat him, only gets nervous occasionally.

A few nights ago, he jumped down off the table and stood beside me at his full 11" or so of height, with one paw gripping a fold of my trousers so he could stand more easily, and took the slice of apple I handed down and ate at my feet.  Tonight, he came ambling towards me as soon as I showed up around the corner, accepted a piece of apple and ate it, and then when he was trying to scrabble up a table leg and get on the table in case there was, you know, any piece of apple in my pocket I may have missed, he let me lift his furry ass off the table leg and up onto the table.

And a while later, after he'd eaten the second piece of apple, also let me lift him off the table and onto his tree.  He can normally do the jump himself, but you could see him nerving himself up to feel that lift again.  And his eyesight in the illumination I need (and which must seem like a mini sun to him) can't be too good because he moved his head forward and down and made a definite "bonk" noise against the tree before he realised what it was and zipped away for his night's carousing.

So yeah - I want to give the possums a place they will gladly sleep in during the day and leave the landlord's ceiling alone, and if anyone has any help insofar as what western ringtails and western brushtails prefer in the way of accommodations, please let me know

BONUS ROUND
Peta Rabbit has become a cuddle slut.  Jumps on chairs beside you and drops her head for scratches, grabs your calf to ask to be picked up, and will happily lay still for 20 - 30 minutes at a time if there are head scratches and that oh-so-nice pet brush are involved.  Today, I picked her up from her hutch and let her come inside, put a piece of bok choi on the ground and put her next to it.

She was not impressed at cuddles cut short and let me know by thumping, then grabbed the bok choi and threw it behind her at me, then spun around and watched me with her ears all down and back.  So I picked up the green leaves and slapped her on the muzzle with it,  Ears shot up in alarm, then down as she realised it was a game, and then she happily munched her greens and was all cuddly and happy again. So wish I'd videoed it...


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Sunday, 22 February 2009

What Happens When Cars Crash

They say modern cars go through a lot of steps and decisions when they detect a collision.  Sensors sense, detectors detect, calculations are made, airbags deployed.  My car - just goes bump...




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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

WoMMA vs WRDoT

Pssst! Wanna hear what I just heard?  Well damnit, that worked...  But is it just me, or does WoMMA become more like WRDoT Words Rammed Down our Throats when you create a body to promote it?  Couldn't they have relied on word of mou...  Oh wait.  I saw this on Twitter...


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Monday, 16 February 2009

Exploding Currency Thermaggedon

What would you do if you knew the end was near?  Let's say you were the leader of a largish nation, and the panel of world scientists who are studying global warming got it wrong and are coming up with really bad numbers.  Suppose.  I mean, let's say it's going to be pretty rough.

You can imagine it, can't you?  Weather gets extreme.  Raging fires one season, deep deep freezes the next.  To top it off there's a global economic crisis.  As leader of one of those largish nations, you've also been talking to the financial and economic brains of the world.  It's going to be rough rough rough.  Confidence in banks and established financial institutions is lower than something that can wear a tall silk top hat and still walk upright under a smallish duck.  With it goes the whole economic system, really. It's all smoke and mirrors and confidence tricks, and once people stop believing in it and feeding it, it collapses in a little sobbing heap by the roadside.

All these advisers are telling you a pretty bleak picture.  "Couple the change in economic climate with the change in global climate," they're saying, "and you can pretty much consider all money will be worthless in another year, and also that about 90% of the world's population is going to slowly starve or perish in the extreme weather.  There will be upset confused angry and frightened people out there, with no financial means that's worth anything, no food, and no shelter from the elements.  Pretty much, it's going to be anarchy and chaos."

So.  If you were one of the leaders of a developed nation like - oh, I don't know - someplace such as America or Australia, and you knew this period was coming up and when it did, all the money in the Treasury was going to be useless - well, wouldn't you push money out to the people under the guise of "economic stimulus" and hope people could use it to buy themselves as much comfort as possible while the money is still worth something and there's still something to buy?

Just sayin'...


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Friday, 13 February 2009

Sorry Officer I Didn't See The Trail Of Flesh Behind My SUV!

Scuse me?  They "... they have no plans to charge the drivers at this time. Both men have clean driving records" - WTF?

The man was hit by an SUV and dragged for 20 miles!  How could the driver not have known he'd hit someone, especially when that impact was hard enough for that victim to be "... impaled by a steel plate on the undercarriage of a van." - again, WTF?

Stories like this make one really suspicious of what's justice and what's just lack of care factor...


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Roundup Cos I'm bored

Mene mene tekel upharsin
Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin was supposedly the writing that appeared on the wall of the temple in the Babylonian empire.  There was this prince who wouldn't have been a ruler's asshole except that he had a father who was ruler, and he mismanaged his responsibilities, instead wasting resources on extravagant feasts. (Which could also be written as "conducted wars on terrorism" I suppose, yes.  Why did you ask that?)  Anyway - back to the story.  "Mene mene tekel upharsin" is one of those little verses that ranks units of weight or money, (I don't think anyone's quite sure now after so many thousand years,) from highest to lowest, and is one of those "nyah nyah nyah-na-nyah!" things that says "you're less than the least!" and which historians, denied the freedom to just write "nyah nyah nyah-na-nyah!" in scholarly tomes, say is a way of saying "You have been measured, and found wanting" which means pretty much the same thing.

Some say this is the legendary Temple, others say this is the legendary tower of Babel.  What is pretty clear is that most historians agree on where it is.  It's in Iraq, and Saddam Hussein built one of his palaces quite near to it.  Spooky, right?  A pretty bad leader, who didn't exactly get there by popularity, so close to that original temple?

And what IS on the place where most historians agree that Temple once stood?  Why, GW Bush put an army base there...  Mene mene tekel upharsin...

ADD Means Never Having To - Oooh, Look!  A New Gizmodo Post!
She says that attention deficit disorder will become more common because we're operating in an entirely new mode.  I say that it will produce an entirely new way of operating and that it's not a Bad Thing as is made out in this interview.  We've only recently started applying scientific method to everyday matters, say the last 500 years or so - and the results have been a slow change.  Back in the day, superstition and religion weren't the explanation for everything that happened, they were everything that happened.  Comforting, to be sure, but it meant that for millenia, nothing changed because no-one thought about change.

Our forebears way back made huge leaps in their understanding, from biting things to kill them before they killed us, to stones, then sticks, then combinations and machines of stones and sticks, fire, cooking, clothing ourselves.  Once we didn't have to spend all that time biting, we had time to think about what it all meant, and once we got as far as superstition, further change was suddenly not an option any more.  The human race stagnated along on "good enough for your grandfather, it'll be good enough for you too, young man!" for millenia.

None of these changes was wrong, it's just that the outgoing school of thought always felt that what made us human beings, what they felt was our identity, was being lost.  But as we now see, it's not lost, just doing new things.

Two Funnies
This picture looks like Harry Lennon to me cos I grok both streams man, I'm a bloke with a foot in each timeline, peace love and wizardy man!  Change forever!

And speaking of how some changes are not necessarily bad, there are the occasional things that come along that make you wonder about that... Dis iss musikk!

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Thursday, 12 February 2009

That Koala Video

For anyone that hasn't seen Sam the koala getting a drink from a firefighter.


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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

11 Feb 1957 <BEGIN TRANS><SYN>human being ted russ 0700GMT

<ACK>
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hIQjrMHTv4.  It started in 1957.  Great things started in 1957.  Me. Computer networking. The Space Race.  When I was about 9 months old my grandfather called me Sputnik Sattelitovicz, after the little ball-sized spacefarer our Russian almost-neighbours to the north had launched, goading the whole space/technology/coldwar race thing.  I've often wondered why I felt so drawn into computers and network systems, maybe it's because their basics were born in the same year my basics were born?

Enough of the rattling.  <END TRANS> . . . 
<BREAK><TRAILER> PS: The Guess The Sound is still on at http://tedalog.blogspot.com/2009/02/random-stuff-from-my-week.html so have a go, it's a bit harder than it looks or sounds...
<END TRANS><ACK>*CLICK*

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Twitter Storm-In-A-Teacup

Typical fuckwit wanting to use Twitter as his personal milking cow, to hell with everyone else...  Read his frothing-off-at-the-mouth comments, typical asshole that doesn't have a clue or social skill in their body.    I presume Twitter are already at work blocking this guy's illegal fake accounts.



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Sunday, 8 February 2009

My Reader Engagement Survey, Let Me Show It To You

Results of the Blog use and enegagement survey I ran for about two weeks.  (Sorry, no hard and fast metrics here, this is a bush survey of the roughest kind.)  Basic indeed, because all I wanted to find out was what sort of demographic is likely to read my blog, how they found the blog and articles in the first place, how they interact with the blog, and what sorts of other activities they perform online so that I can perhaps extend my reach and audience.

  • 100% of the audience I am reaching is between 30 and 60 years of age.
  • 57% of the audience is female. 
  • 75% read their news online, 60% read blogs an respond to comments, 50% just read blogs and 45% are bloggers themselves.  Only about 30% read blogs without commenting.
    (Percentages here are for multiple choice multi-answer so people can read their news online, be a blogger, and read and comment on other blogs - I wanted to see what sorts of activities are engaged in.  Also, as I see the number of people who gave more than one response, I've levelled out the percentages a bit to account for that.  None are higher than survey results, but I've allowed for people who ticked both the "read and comment" as well as the "read only" selection etc.)
  • Almost half regularly use online chat systems.  One third of my respondents actually read the announcements of new articles on Twitter and come to the blogs from there.  Only around 15% saw link love or comment links on another blog or site, and the rest (just over half) found their way to the articles because either I contacted them or advertised the blog some other, one-off way, or by word of mouth.  Posting announcements and fragments on another site seems to definitely be the way to go...
  • Side-bars and self-referential blogrolls work - over two thirds of my readers use the blogroll links to my other sites to navigate and find the other blogs.  This would be a good place to do reciprocal links and feeds with other blogs.  Maybe keep both for a while, or combine blogroll with a microfeed and make sure your own other blogs are prominent.
  • Several of the blogs I place a lot of value in, specifically the ones dealing with technology and with health and ecological issues are not read as much.  Yet because I rate these topics highly, I put a lot of research and effort into these blogs only to have almost no readers aware that A) they even exist and B) get updated several times a week.  That means I need to publicise them much more, and make better and more compelling descriptions for them.
  • Retention rate - around quarter of my readers have been reading my blogs for 2 years, about a quarter for one year at least, and half are recent readers, having started reading only in the last 12 months or less.  Seems I lose about half my readership each year.  Or maybe this is part of the audience building phase, it's about as long as my blog has been moved to blogger.com. 

So definitely I need to perhaps cross-post or cross-link articles.  In fact, a Tumblr style microfeed in the sidebar may be even better than a blogroll if one has more than one blog.  In the face of limited attention, it needs to be a microfeed so as not to overly annoy or impose on readers.  That means articles need catchy titles and newspaper style first paragraphs that lay out the basic premise or grab attention in 255 characters.

I should probably go and find any blog aggregator sites I'm on and update details there too.  So that means a revised description of each blog, and then go on a round of updating.

That last points out another thing about blogs - they change over tiem and you need to keep descriptions relevant all over the web. How handy would it be if the RSS feed included and  type tags so you could write it all once and then have every aggregator pick up the changes?  


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Friday, 6 February 2009

How Much Signal Can They Harvest?

Here is a power-harvesting idea that is, I will say, a bit dodgy.  In their hurry to perfect this, the engineers in question have actually crossed the line into criminal activity.  Why do I say this?  Well, read on:

In the late 60's to early 70's, one clever guy realised that radio waves are energy being pumped around the sky for free.  In those days there were pretty much only AM transmitters or TV transmitters.  TV was too high frequency to work with, so this guy worked with a local AM radio transmitter's frequency.  He worked out the dimensions of his yard, and how many turns around his yard would couple to the frequency of the transmitter, to the tune of a couple of wavelengths.

This was just ordinary fence wire, but on insulators, and with a clever and ingenious series of contacts at his front gate so that if you closed the gate, there was the circuit, if you opened it, the circuit was open and not likely to electrocute you.

He then hooked up his tuned coil antenna to his house's lighting, using fluorescent tubes wherever he could.  Result?  His house was lighted (for him) for free!  The radio waves were well and truly enough at the size of coil and the number of turns that he had, to light everything beautifully.

But like everything else, there's a price to pay.  That energy had to come from somewhere, and that somewhere was the radio transmitter.  The amount of power drawn by the guy's loop was enough to seriously reduce the signal strength everywhere else, with all that power going to his lights (and the inefficiency of running gear designed for 50Hz at some ten times higher frequency) the radio station suddenly found that most of its listeners couldn't get a signal any more.

A bit of driving around with a signal strength meter soon established the direction in which the signal took its biggest dive, and the chap was summonsed and actually charged with the theft of electricity and ordered to cease and desist.

What I'm saying is - these devices may be only miniscule consumers of the radiated energy - but if you consider that many companies are just looking for technology to power and deploy sensor networks of many tens of thousands of devices - and there are hundreds of manufacturers each with a different sensor network in mind - this drain will slowly and imperceptibly reduce the range of the transmitters these devices are "feeding" from, as more and more devices are deployed.  The companies transmitting will either have to increase transmission power, or else issue "cease and desist" orders for each of those devices or the operators of them.

In effect, these engineers are repeating that 50 year old theft of electricity scheme, just not with one huge drain but rather with a lot of tiny drains.  We can already see how much many small drains in the form of "vampire power" cost us on our electric bill - now imagine tens of thousands of them attached to a radio or TV station's power bill...

And this will not only affect TV stations and RFID readers - it's not explicitly stated in that article, but the technology will just as happily harvest energy from your WiFi access point, from your portable phone and your mobile phone, your wireless-enabled laptop or PDA - in short, from anything that radiates radio waves in the right frequency range.  And that's of course not the worst of it.  Given that these devices are already tuned to your frequency, as it were, they can also forward your transmission itself using swarm network technology, and allow someone at quite a distance from you to eavesdrop on those signals, store them, and decode/decrypt them...

So this is, on the face of it, quite clever and useful technology.  But it has a very serious downside that could cause extremely bad repercussions to systems around them, and is technically illegal.



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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Everything's Amazing.

I suppose everyone's seen this by now, but it's amusing.  Spreading the link love...


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How To Commit Political Suicide Without Even Trying.

I've never felt sorry for the Liberal Party before.  Never.  Until now.   They've just made the Mistake Of The Millennium.  It'll be interesting to see where this leads...  
Possibly the BEST analysis of the situation with the Libs trying to put a stick in the spokes of Rudd's economic stimulus package.  A must-read.

Fetchez le baseballbat!


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Sunday, 1 February 2009

Random Stuff From My Week

LCARS Entertainment:
I've finally picked up the "media PC" off the floor and put it up so I have a semi-neat entertainment machine.  Truth to tell, it can outperform the lappie, but I bought it mainly to be my entertainment center in the bus.  Since I've moved the A/C to the cottage so that it's comfortable to cook and work indoors, and I sleep here on really hot nights too, I moved the entertainment machine inside too.
Yeap that is an unofficial Star Trek style keyboard.  And it works...  More pics at my Flickr account.

These Root Crops Are, Well, Rooted:
Went shopping at the local fruit & veg mart and found all the remaining carrots in the section were like these ones below - what my friend Tom would call "Chernobyl Carrots" so - here Tom these are for you:
Hippy Bunny Observation:
And lastly, file this under weird rabbit/packrat crossover culture:
- about two minutes after this photo was taken she grabbed a piece of dried seed bread in her mouth like a rat or a squirrel might, and bolted to her "burrow" behind my cabinet with it.  I've never heard of a bunny taking a snack into its burrow with it.  Ever.  See why she amuses me so much?

AOBOF: (Any Other Bits Of Fluff)
It's been a hot week here but not as hot as South Australia and Victoria have been having, although where I am right next to a river, the humidity is something to behold, I reckon a few percent more humidity and we'd all be using snorkels...

An art idea I've had is slowly coming together, with the cooler weather predicted I may be able to have a few pieces ready to take pictures of soon,

Guess The Sound!
Last amusement - there's a .WAV file I've just uploaded to www.zencookbook.com, here.  (Right click and "save as", you know the drill...)  Grab a copy, listen to it, and tell me what it is in the comments section, or email me if you don't want to leave an email address in the comments.  First correct will get their name up in an article later.  Nothing flash, this is after all just a fun competition.

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When Twitter was just Twttr...

OMG such a short time ago, such a hyperbolic curve.  An insider history of what is possibly the most popular micor-blogging service online today.

Take-home wisdom that I got from that story:

  • Everyone waits until the very last minute before they branch out into a new venture.  When that "last minute" hits you, you're already behind the eight ball and have less resources to develop anything new, and if you miss that last minute, then it may very well be the last few minutes for your company...
  • Don't sink "desperation resources" into a new project. Don't under-resource it, either.  Going all-out to develop an idea or concept at the last minute is going to put you in a do-or-die situation.  The New Great Hope is going to save you - or it may well flop.  Likewise, under-resourcing the project will most likely ensure a flop, so as with everything in life, find that balance and use it.
  • They still dropped a misunderstood potential killer app.  Have some faith in your earlier decisions. Follow through.  For heaven's sake, have you no faith in yourself?  Have you really spent your life making bad decisions?  No?  Then what the hell are you doing?  (Come to think of it, if you did decide to can some new project without understanding it, you probably did make poor decisions on a regular basis...)
  • Sometimes, publicity just drops in your lap.  (Although, generally, you had to work hard to make sure it did fall there.)  Use it.  Twitter created the Twitter follower app and placed it in a high profile show, and then other publicity opportunities flowed from that.  Twitter did use those opportunities to advantage.  I may have hated hearing trite "Biz-isms" in the semi regular emails that came out, but they all helped foster the community that Twitter is based on.  And such publicity can't be bought, it can't be obtained like a bag of nuts and bolts, you have to work for it and be ready when it does drop into your lap. 

I could go on with Twitter-specific commentary but I want this to be a bit of advice to a LOT of companies that are sitting around out there, whipped by the current economic disasters that are unleashing all around the world.  What caused those disasters?  Companies wanting to make the killer profits without doing the killer work.  Clinging to outdated inapplicable and often basically dishonest models.  There is no "instant killer app" to fish you out of the Depression, and anyone that tells you so is probably pursuing a get-rich-quick scheme of their own that doesn't include your financial interests as a core value...

What I'm saying to the companies whose current crops of designs and models are falling on sparse ground is to start doing the hard work of reinventing and changing yourself.  There really are no free lunches - if your current model is failing then you either do the work and reinvent, or watch your company die.  I will say this - look at how car sales are falling, and how much they're clinging to "tried and true" designs, even though it's now proving bad for their sales and the environment.  There's a sector of industry that desperately needs that "last minute" killer app or project.

Yes, certainly they're suddenly sinking money into developing EVs and hybrids, but it's a case of too little, too late, for too little truly new result.  All they can do is either produce half-assed and half-supported projects that are destined to fail because, well - they're crap - or else they can throw huge wads of resources at a new project and work themselves up into a "flop sweat" - and still end up with crap because an over-funded project doesn't have the same sense of urgency or parsimony and will burn trough those resources without producing much result.

I predict that despite bailout packages and having all that wealth behind them, the big marques are going to fall in a heap over the next few years.  Unless they come up with something truly new and innovative, not all of them are going to get back up again, either.  (This is just a random prediction, I'm going to be watching the Big Tin companies and see how they go.  It just seem to me that they are the best example of failing to re-invent and failure to put development dollars in the right directions...)

I say this because too many times I've approached companies with a new concept or idea, had the relevant managers smile and sweat and cough nervously, and then beg off doing the hard work because it wasn't "core business model" or whatever other way they wanted to say "we're too chickenshit and too lazy" - and then watched another company quite unrelatedly develop a similar or identical thing and make a killing from it.

Let me put it to you this way - if you were the executive for development at a large car manufacturer and I came to you with half-formed plans for a cheap reliable easy to manufacture and almost energy cost free vehicle - this one based on McFly's hoverboard and a flux capacitor made out of a recycled jam jar, for example - what would you do?  One, it would be bad for your "core business model" so you'd not be inclined to work on it. Then, if it's that cheap to make, there's not all that much room to shove a profit in the price.  Thirdly, it would be an admission that your own development hadn't been doing anywhere near as well.  All in all, your first best bet is to belittle the whole idea, then to grudgingly pay beer money for it, and finally to bury it.  Risk managed!  Pity about all the shitstorms cars are in now...

So - to all you harassed managers and CEOs out there - this may not look like it but this is the best time to take a punt on new ventures, and in fact it may be your best chance to survive. This really is that "last minute..."


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